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Bone boosters; the facts are in - building better bones means more than just adding milk.


To many adults, calcium is kids' stuff. "Drink your milk, Junior, and grow up to be big and strong," mom always said. But recent research suggests calcium requirements may increase, not decrease, with age, and mom herself is most vulnerable.

Typically, Americans absorb only 10 to 30 percent of the calcium they consume, and that level dips as the years pass. Hormonal changes, poor diet, and the aging process thwart calcium absorption. Although the body tries to maintain the balance of calcium in the blood, its method--tapping reserves stored in the bones--can be debilitating. This method can lead to lost bone density and, eventually, the dread disease osteoporosis. Because aging is inevitable and hormonal treatment can be risky, the key to increasing calcium absorption seems to be fine-tuning the diet.

Boosting dietary calcium is not as simple as merely adding milk. The real need is to increase the calcium absorbed, not just consumed. How much calcium is ingested makes little difference if it isn't used by the body.

Fortunately, absorption can be increased many ways. Vitamin D, available in sublight, is a natural carrier for calcium. It can be ingested through fortified milk and some dairy products. Lactose, present in cream soups and chowders as well as in other foods made with dairy products, also enhances calcium absorption.

Calcium is more soluble in acid; it is then more easily used by the body. But acidic gastric juices, helpful in the natural digestion of calcium, are produced at lower levels in old age. Yogurt and buttermilk, more acidic than other dairy products and acceptable to persons with lactose intolerance, can be important aids to calcium absorption in later years. Exercise, too, has been found to increase bone mass and thus calcium stores. During periods of inactivity, when physical stress is not placed on the bones, less calcium is absorbed. Walking or jogging is good exercise for increasing absorption.

Although calcium levels can be raised in many creative ways, the typical American diet seems to work against the need. A high-fat, high-protein, high-phosphorus diet can decrease calcium retention. Guzzling soft drinks is a special risk; these beverages not only often replace milk as a favorite drink, but because they contain high levels of phosphorus, they decrease the calcium absorption from whatever milk is taken in.

Milk and cheese are complete proteins; additional, unneeded meat may lessen the amount of calcium available. Broccoli and Cheese Calzone, Spanakopita, and Vegetable Frittata are delicious main dishes that utilize calcium and complete protein without added meat. Low-fat or partially skim cheeses can be substituted for high-fat cheeses.

Acids in whole grains and leafy greens can interfere with calcium absorption by binding the calcium. When whole grains are consumed, a calcium-rich diet is more important than ever. To raise your calcium intake, try kale or turnip greens--they won't bind the calcium as much as other leafy greens.

Grain products, not usually thought of as rich in calcium, take on new value when dry milk is added. Fortified flours are available on the market, and soft pretzels made with this calcium-enriched staple and nonfat dry milk boost calcium absorption.

Legumes can also add calcium to your diet. The amount, small when compared to dairy products, can be an important source for those who do not drink milk. Turtle Bean Soup garnished with yogurt is a calcium bonus. Salmon and sardines are also a calcium source if the bones are not removed. (The canning process renders the bones soft enough to be blended into any dish.) Salmon Log, a favorite appetizer, makes use of the entire salmon and Neufchatel, a low-fat cheese substitute.

Children require about 800 mg. of calcium a day and teen-agers about 1,200 mg. The Recommended Daily Allowance for adults, 800 mg., may be even higher for women. One glass of milk equals about 300 mg. The following chart shows equivalent levels of other calcium-rich foods. 1 cup milk = 1-1/2 ozs. Cheddar cheese 2 cups ice cream 2 cups cottage cheese 1 cup almonds 2-1/2 ozs. sardines

Soft Pretzels

(Makes 16 pretzels) 1 package active dry yeast 1/4 cup water 1 cup skim milk 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk 4-1/2 cups calcium-enriched whole-wheat flour 2 teaspoons salt substitute 4 teaspoons baking soda

Combine yeast and water in mixing bowl. Let stand until yeast is softened, about 5 minutes; stir in skim milk and dry milk. Stir in flour and salt substitute; add additional flour if necessary to form a stiff dough. Knead dough 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in oiled bowl, and turn to bring oiled side up. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until double in size (45-60 minutes).

Divide dough into 16 balls. Roll each ball into 20-inch coil about 1/4" in diameter. Shape each coil into a pretzel. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Drop pretzels in boiling water one at a time. Let pretzels boil until they float, about 1 minute. Remove from boiling water and drain. Place drained pretzel on oiled baking sheets. Bake in preheated 475[deg.] F. oven until golden brown (10-12 minutes).

Wild Rice Soup

(Makes 6 servings) 1/2 cup wild rice 1 small onion, chopped 2 cups defatted chicken borth 1 cup sliced mushrooms 1 cup chopped broccoli 3 tablespoons flour 2 cups skim milk 1-1/2 cups cubed American cheese 1/2 teaspoon salt substitute, if desired 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Combine rice, onion, and broth in saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer until tender (45 minutes). During the last 10 minutes of cooking, place mushrooms and broccoli on top of rice; cover tightly with lid.

Sprinkle flour over rice mixture and stir in. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens; stir constantly. Stir in cheese until melted. Add seasonings to taste. Serve warm.


(Makes 8 servings) 1 package (8 oz.) kale or turnip greens 1 cup chopped onion 3 eggs, well beaten 1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled 1 cup Gouda cheese 8 sheets filo (thin strudel sheets), thawed 1 tablespoon margarine

Cook greens and onion until tender; drain well. Add egg and cheeses to vegetable mixture. Place one filo sheet on baking tray; brush sparingly with melted margarine. Place second sheet on top of first and brush with melted margarine. Repeat with remaining filo sheets. Place vegetable mixture down center of sheets. Roll sheets with vegetable mixture in center and tuck ends under.

Bake in preheated 350[deg.] F. oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Slice and serve warm.

Yogurt Cucumber Dressing

(Makes 2 cups dressing) 2 cups plain low-fat yogurt 1 cup chopped cucumber 1/4 cup finely chopped onion 1 teaspoon dill weed

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl; stir until well mixed. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Vegetable Frittata

(Makes 4 servings) 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup calcium-enriched flour 1/4 teaspoon salt substitute 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms 2 tablespoons chopped onion 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper 1 teaspoon margarine 1/4 cup chopped tomato 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Coat 10" cast-iron skillet with vegetable cooking spray. Preheat skillet at 425[deg.] F. until heated, about 4 minutes. Combine eggs, buttermilk, flour, and salt substitute in mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Pour into hot skillet. Bake at 425[deg.] F. for 12-15 minutes or until puffed.

Meanwhile, saute mushrooms, onion, and green pepper in margarine in small skillet. During last 5 minutes of cooking frittata, spoon vegetables over top and add tomatoes and cheese. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Broccoli-and-Cheese Calzone

(Makes 8) 4 cups chopped broccoli 1/2 cup grated carrot 1/4 cup chopped onion 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 cup water 1 cup ricotta cheese 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 cup Swiss cheese 1/4 teaspoon thyme 2 loaves whole-wheat bread dough

Combine broccoli, carrot, onion, garlic, and water in saucepan. Cook until broccoli is tender (8-10 minutes). Drain well and press out excess moisture with paper towel. Add cheeses and thyme.

Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into 6" circle. Place circles on baking sheet coated with vegetable cooking spray. Place about 1/2 cup filling on one half of each circle and fold other half of circle over filling. Pinch edges closed. Prick top of each calzone. Bake in preheated 400[deg.] F. oven until golden brown (15-20 minutes).

Turtle Bean Soup

(Makes 2-1/2 quarts) 1 pound dry black beans 2-1/2 cups chopped celery 2 cups chopped onion 1/2 cup chopped green pepper 1 clove garlic, minced 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon salt substitute, if desired 1 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon red pepper Dash hot pepper sauce 1/4 cup plain, low-fat yogurt Lemon slices

Wash beans and place in large cooking container. Cover with water 2 inches above beans; let soak overnight. Drain beans and add 3 quarts water, celery, onion, green pepper, garlic, bay leaf, salt substitute, thyme, oregano, peppers, and hot pepper sauce.

Bring beans to boil and reduce to low. Cook beans, uncovered, until tender (2-3 hours); stir occasionally. Remove bay leaf.

Place half of beans in blender or food processor. Process until smooth; stir back into soup. Garnish each serving with yogurt and lemon slice.

Smoked Salmon

(Makes 1 appetizer log) 1 can (16 oz.) red salmon 1 package (8 oz.) Neufchatel cheese 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke or Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon minced onion 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds 3 tablespoons parsley

Combine salmon, cheese, liquid smoke, onion, and garlic in mixing bowl. Shape into log and roll in mixture of sunflower seeds and parsley. Roll up in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with whole-wheat crackers as appetizer.

Frozen Pineapple Yogurt

(Makes 4 servings) 1 cup fresh fruit 1 can (15 oz.) unsweetened pineapple chunks 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Place fruit (any type of berries) in single layer on tray covered with wax paper. Drain pipeapple well; arrange on tray with berries. Freeze fruit until firm (about 2 hours). Combine yogurt and fruit in blender and process until smooth; stir mixture several times during blending. Serve in dessert dishes.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Rae, Jacque
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Dec 1, 1986
Previous Article:Gifts they'll never expect; different ideas that range from the exotic to the downright practical.
Next Article:Brazil; the Rio thing.

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